17 people test positive for COVID-19 on cruise ship in New Orleans

Probable case of omicron variant also identified
Posted at 4:54 AM, Dec 06, 2021

At least 17 people aboard a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship docked in New Orleans have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Sunday.

The cases were found among both passengers and crew members on the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship. A probable case of the omicron variant was also identified among a member of the crew, who is not a Louisiana resident and did not leave the ship, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.

Earlier Sunday, Louisiana confirmed its first case of omicron, which the health department said did not include any of the passengers or crew members from the Norwegian Breakaway.

The Norwegian Breakaway had departed New Orleans on Nov. 28 and returned this weekend as scheduled. Over the past week, the cruise ship made stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico.

The ship docked in New Orleans on Sunday and all individuals on board were tested prior to disembarkation, according to a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Lines.

"In addition to requiring that 100% of guests and crew are fully vaccinated, per the Company’s comprehensive health and safety protocols, we have implemented quarantine, isolation and contact tracing procedures for identified cases," the spokesperson told ABC News in a statement Sunday. "Any guests who have tested positive for COVID-19 will travel by personal vehicle to their personal residence or self-isolate in accommodations provided by the Company according to CDC guidelines."

All of the identified cases on board were asymptomatic, according to the spokesperson.

"We take this matter extremely seriously and will continue to work closely with the CDC, the office of Governor John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Department of Health as well as the city and port of New Orleans," the spokesperson added.